In college we ate popcorn and wine for dinner on Friday nights and nobody complained. Life was undefined then. There was no Instagram to tell us what the rest of the campus was doing. We locked ourselves in our home with blankets piled on a black leather sofa and bowls we didn’t take care of until the morning. Digging pennies from the sofa cushions, we would pay our heating bill each month; the cost of living was a brutal reality at 19.
Last week, I wrote a letter to an old friend, who used to sit beside me, huddled in warmth all those years ago. I wanted to tell her that our friendship was like the great sand dunes. And though I cannot always see her on our climb up these dunes, I remember her with every step. And sometimes, when we are lucky enough, we simultaneously reach mirrored peaks. From there, I can call to her and rest my weary legs. Stretching, she waves back across at me, her voice echoing in the distance; a reminder of the past, of secrets, of hard work no one saw behind the veil. It is refreshing to have a friendship that allows you to explore without expectations. It gives the struggle of climb a purpose: sisterhood.
You wonder at 19 what where you will end up. You stay up late talking about weddings and children’s names you will never remember, about where you want to live, to work, all the things you want to have. But you can never imagine a life for yourself as good as it will actually end up.
We didn’t even know there were dunes ahead. We thought the world was a desert and the only struggle would be to find fresh water. But there is so much more than that.
Back then, we would look at each other over cold glasses of wine, laugh and agree that “these are the days.” And they were… Then.
Now we look back and realize the days were actually ahead of us. But how fortune we were to have one another along the way. How lonely the walk might have been. We never even realized we were climbing when we were young and drunk and silly and cold and life was undetermined.
I wish for my daughter to have a band of women to mount the dunes with, to feel the sand clump between her toes, to know the pains of climbing and struggle, to collapse in exhaustion and find relief in the voices echoing across the sanded mountain tops.